The Prime Minister, Mona Lisa Smile, Lost Telephone and Noodles

Prime Minister

Yesterday afternoon Zeynep was kind enough pick up Fabs and Isa from Cetinkaya (after some confusion) and myself from Magda’s place. As eluded to previously, we were going to the movies at CinemaxX, M1. On the way we were delayed at traffic lights for 10 minutes waiting for the Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan’s police flanked procession. On Sunday Erdogan was in Mersin and Adana at rallies promoting his Ak Parti’s local election campaign.

I have never before seen cars in Turkey stay still when the traffic lights were green!

People were not waiting out of respect for the Prime Minister either – several drivers tooted their horns impatiently.

Mona Lisa Smile

The movie we saw was Mona Lisa Smile, starring Julia Roberts as a teacher at a stuffy woman’s college, Wellesley during the early 1950’s. She came to the college with many ideas too radical for the traditional college that raised its students to be fine wives and mothers.

I enjoyed the movie and can recommend it. The huge screen (much larger than the cinema in Mersin) was an added bonus.

Issues Raised by the Movie

The film raised many issues with me, including:

-The role of women, men and marriage in society.

-The hypocrisy of the film setting (and earlier times in general) when everybody was publicly perfect with their lives and relationships, although privately misbehaving and cheating like people always have done and will do. The honour of the family was more important than acknowledging problems and doing something to solve them.

-The complexity of modern life with its lifestyle choices.

Local Parallels

Although, rich, upper class, 1950’s America and poor, current day Turkey seem as far apart as possible, I found interesting parallels, particularly with more conservative Turkey. In both these settings, tradition is very important and new thinking and ideas are not encouraged. Women face great pressure to marry the correct man and have his children.


Coincidentally, this morning I found out an allegedly important awards ceremony sharing the same name as Oscar the Grouch had just occured. Next subject…

After the movies, Zeynep, Fabs and Isa left while I waited for my work mates to exit their movie Neredesin Firuze?, a Turkish movie. I sat at a table opposite the entrance to cinema 4 (Mona Lisa Smile was in 3). Out came Ahmet, Sevil, Nil, Nur, Asli, Sebi, Buket, Serkan and Iklim. For dinner we ate Iskender Kebap at ‘Kukla Kebap’, part of the M1 shopping centre food court.

Lost Telephone

After dinner I realised I had lost my telephone. After searching various places and asking different staff I had given up hope of finding it. Whoever had the phone turned it off and that was one of my main concerns. I thought the only motive for turning a found phone off was theft. However, as a last gasp idea, Serkan and I walked back to the very end of the cinema near screen 3 (where I had been sitting) and asked the woman at the food and drink counter. BINGO! 🙂

Someone had passed the phone in! To assure her it was mine, she asked for the pincode when she turned the phone on. The pincode worked and I had my phone back!!!!


Whilst I was looking for my phone, Sevil and Nur were shopping in the massive Tepe hypermarket. Included in their purchases was a 350 gm packet of Chinese egg noodles – this was good news for Ahmet and I, exotic food lovers. We went back and he bought 8 packets and I, 4. At 1,495,000 TL they were quite cheap, too. Imported foods in Turkey tend to be either unavailable or very expensive. Import duties and low volumes caused by unadventuress local eating habits are to blame. Now for the stir frys and other Asian noodle dishes!

Overall, it was a memorable day!

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